Cooking Circles and HomeTaste – Women’s Cultural Identity Panel

Hello hungry peoples,

HomeTaste and Cooking Circles recently partnered up to host a Women’s Cultural Identity Panel. It is a logical merger. Both are about empowering women through community, friendship and cooking. Heidi, from Cooking Circles, provided the venue and a panel of inspiring women and Teena, from HomeTaste, provided herself as an inspiring women, as well as the food. Since I love both food and women this seemed like my kind of thing.

The literal circle at Cooking Circles
The literal circle at Cooking Circles
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The discussion panel

The event was at the Currie Community Centre, where Cooking Circles regularly hosts Wednesday lunchtime cooking classes. This is a gorgeous little community hall. It reminded me of the small town halls we had in the country where I grew up. The Cooking Circles crowd are also welcoming and warm so the atmosphere was convivial. In the end there was about 25 of us there to share stories and eat some great food.

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The hosts: HomeTaste and Cooking Circles

The panel comprised 4 amazing women who discussed their culture and its influence on their lives in Australia. The was quite the mix of people. Christina is Spanish and teaches diversity at CIT. Narelle runs a native bush foods class, which I recently wrote a post about, as well as a gardening business. Teena is the entrepreneur behind HomeTaste and originally from India. Lastly Nicola is a Jewish Hungarian human rights lawyer. This mix of different backgrounds and life experience was fascinating as topics were discussed such as  growing up within their culture, their relationship with their heritage and how they have struck a balance with being modern women, yet retaining a sense of history.

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Fundraising at Cooking Circles for community programs

Personally I love hearing inspiring stories about women and their every day lives. While we are certainly lucky compared to many women around the world, we still have issues and challenges to face. I certainly know and understand the pressures of trying to be everything to everyone all of the time and see so many of my friends struggle with it as well. It is so easy to think you are the only one having a hard time and I think talking openly about it lifts this veil and allows us to see the truth…..we are all muddling along as best we can. I also think our modern culture can be very socially isolating, a problem that Cooking Circles is diligently working on by bringing women together. I know from my own experience that meeting so many wonderful women has greatly changed my life.

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Teena serving some dessert
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Laddoo balls

I haven’t even mentioned the food yet. The event was catered by HomeTaste chefs Musi and Sharda. Sharda was one of the first chefs I profiled for HomeTaste and she makes amazing Indian food. Musi is Pakistani and makes one of the best goat curries I have ever had. They are also both impressive women who have balanced the demands of family and career. They created a feast of butter chicken, chicken korma and goat curry with roti. A raita was on the side to counter any heat, as well as dahi bhalla, which are lentil balls in a yoghurt sauce. A traditional Indian dessert, laddoo balls, finished the meal. The curries were a huge hit, even with people who don’t usually eat spicy foods. My impression was that the  dishes struck a great balance between flavour and heat. These women are cooks with a lifetime of experience and they know what they are doing.

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The famous goat curry

Between the amazing food and the lovely people it was a great night and a great success. If you are interested Cooking Circles Weekly lunches are held throughout the school term at the Currie Crescent Community Centre from 11 am to 1:30 pm and costs $5 to cover ingredients. Monthly lunches/dinners are hosted at different women’s home, usually with a cultural theme. There is an upcoming Bangledesh cooking class, as well as a high tea. You can also sponsor another woman to attend. For more information about upcoming events you can join the Cooking Circles facebook group or email at cookingcirclescbr@gmail.com.

You can order Sharda or Musi’s dishes from HomeTaste right now and get it in your belly.

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The lovely ladies who ran the show

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